College Football: Don't Get Your Officially Licensed Knickers in a Bunch
Or don't get your officially licensed Nebraska knickers at all. As of today, the choice is yours thanks to those employers of angels at Victoria's Secret.
The underwear giant has partnered with 33 universities to offer "official college gear," and predictably, there's been some controversy.
You won't find Ohio State's logo on panties any time soon thanks to some conflicting interests between the corporate board of the Columbus, Ohio-based company and the board of regents at the university.
The University of Minnesota pulled out of their licensing agreement after deciding the line wasn't in step with the university's values.
By extension, I guess we're left to assume that the product line is in step with Nebraska's values, as the product is presumably on the shelves at Westroads, Gateway, Oakview, and Southpoint right now—and really, that's fine.
If you look at what's being offered, I'd characterize the wares as more girly than sexy. Hearts and puppies are everywhere, and it's sure to be a hit with the coed crowd thanks to the ubiquitous posterior branding.
Of course there's an underwear offering, but there have been Husker unmentionables for sale for years. (And far racier models than what's currently available at your local mall.)
On the whole, I don't find the line objectionable at all, but the real question here is not whether Nebraska negligee is appropriate or not. The overarching question is, who would want an 'N' down around their business?
Victoria's Secret isn't really selling underwear—that's what Wal-Mart is for—they're selling the ability to feel sexy. While I understand the desire to feel sexy, I don't understand how it dovetails with supporting Dear Old Nebraska U.
Is it truly for the girls—just a wonderful opportunity for some Husker fans to feel fashionable and fanatical at the same time—or is it really for the guys?
I have this horrific vision in my head of Dick, a season ticket holder of 35 years, leaning over to Jane, his wife of 30 years, before the kickoff of the Western Michigan game and asking: "Do you have them on?"
Jane nods yes, and then they press their foreheads together and share the warm, glowing smiles of ED ads as Adi Kunalic boots the opening kickoff into the first row, spilling a rum-spiked Pepsi all over a freshman's brand new "universi-tee."
That's brand synergy.
That is what happens, in my mind, when you mix business—in this case, "your business"—and pleasure—in this case the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Of course, you can't stop what's coming. Victoria's Secret will sell Nebraska merchandise and people will buy it (See Also: foam corn heads). All that's left for us to do is debate it and ultimately deal with it—so I'll deal with it with an anecdote.
Back when I was of the age to shop for a football uniform in the pages of a JC Penney magazine, you couldn't get every NFL team. It seems unthinkable in this age, but JC Penney only sold the popular teams way back when.
If you wanted a Bears uniform or a Broncos uniform, no worries. But if you were a kid in, say, Seattle you were out of luck. "Sorry kid, Chuck Knox needs to win a few more games for that to be profitable on our end." Simply being able to purchase your favorite team's set was personally validating.
While the Victoria's Secret people will tell you that they have schools knocking down the door to get their logos on the leisurewear for next spring, initially they selected only 33 schools—the 33 schools with some cultural clout, marketing push, and lower standards than the Golden Gophers.
Oklahoma made the cut, as did Texas, A&M, Kansas, and Colorado. Harvard's even in—but you know who's not?
Forgive me if that fills me with joy, but a few months out, with Nebraska but a speck in Mizzou's rear-view mirror according to most preseason publications, I'll take whatever I can get—and in this instance, the Cornhuskers have one shapely, bikini-cut leg up on the Tigers.
We have panties.
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